, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 200-208
Date: 26 Feb 2012

Effects of Taiji Practice on Mindfulness and Self-Compassion in Healthy Participants—A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Taiji is regarded as a mind–body practice that is characterized by gentle and mindful body movements. In contrast to the continuously growing evidence base supporting the beneficial effects of Taiji on physical and mental well-being, studies investigating its underlying mechanisms are still scarce. The aim of our study was to examine the impact of Taiji practice on self-attribution of mindfulness and self-compassion, two potential components well known for their health promoting effects. Seventy healthy participants (age range: 23–50 years) were randomly assigned either to the intervention group or to a wait list control group. The intervention group attended Taiji classes twice a week for 3 months. Before, shortly after and 2 months after the intervention, we measured the degree of self-attributed mindfulness and self-compassion in all study participants by using self-report questionnaires. Compared to the control group, the intervention group showed significantly higher increase scores in self-attributed mindfulness after the intervention that persisted 2 months later. Increases in self-attributed self-compassion were also higher in Taiji practitioners, with significant group differences from preintervention to follow-up assessment. Our findings suggest that Taiji practice can effectively enhance self-attribution of mindfulness and is likely to have beneficial effects on self-compassion in healthy participants. The role of mindfulness as a mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of Taiji practice warrants further research.